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The Message of the Quran

Muhammad Asad

 

QURAYSH

THE HUNDRED-SIXTH SURAH
Total Verses: 4
MECCA PERIOD

 

Introduction

 

ACCORDING to some of the Companions of the Prophet and several learned men of the next generation, this surah and the preceding one form, in fact, one entity. Thus, in the Qur'an-copy owned by Ubayy ibn Kab, Al-Fil and Quraysh were written as one surah, i.e., without the customary invocation "In the name of God" intervening between them (Baghawi and Zamakhshari). We must remember that side by side with Zayd ibn Thabit and Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ubayy ibn Ka'b was one of the foremost authorities on whom both Abu Bakr and Uthman relied for the final recension of the text of the Qur'an; and it is probably for this reason that Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani regards the evidence of Ubayy's Qur'an-copy as fairly conclusive (Fath al-Bari VIII, 593). Moreover, it is established that, when leading the congregational prayer, Umar ibn al-Khattab used to recite the two surahs as one (Zamakhshari and Razi). But whether Al-Fil and Quraysh are one surah or two separate ones, there is hardly any doubt that the latter is a continuation of the former, implying that God destroyed the Army of the Elephant "so that the Quraysh might remain secure" (see verse 1 below and the corresponding note).

 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE DISPENSER OF GRACE:

 

 

(1) SO THAT the Quraysh might remain secure, 1

 

(2) secure in their winter and summer journeys, 2

 

(3) Let them, therefore, worship the Sustainer of this Temple; 3

 

(4) who has given them food against hunger, and made them safe from danger. 4

 

 

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1 Lit., "for the safeguarding of the Quraysh", i.e., as the custodians of the Kabah and the tribe in the midst of which the Last Prophet, Muhammad, was to appear. Thus, the "security of the Quraysh" is a metonym for the security of the Kabah, the focal point of the Faith based on the concept of God's oneness, for the sake of which the army of Abrahah was destroyed (see introductory note as well as preceding surah).

 

2 I.e., the two annual trade caravans - to the Yemen in winter and to Syria in summer - on which the prosperity of Mecca depended.

 

3 I.e., the Kabah (see note 102 on 2:125).

 

4 Cf. Abraham's prayer, "O my Sustainer! Make this a land secure, and grant its people fruitful sustenance" (2:126).

 

 

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